Many years ago, I remember encountering an ardent Doylean who argued that playing the game of discussing the Canon with Watson as the author and Doyle as the agent created a very dangerous possibility.
"If you pretend Watson wrote the stories," he warned, "people are going to believe it."
Well, that was long, long ago in a Sherlockian culture far, far away, and the world we find ourselves living in today, thanks to internet connectivity and the empowering of like-thinkers it brings, is very different. All sorts of folk who believe things that they are definitely mistaken about (yes, some facts do still exist) are proudly asserting their personal truth to the world, no matter how ridiculous that truth might be.
But what truth are we hearing asserted nowhere at all?
That John H. Watson did really write the sixty stories that have Conan Doyle's name on the spine of the books. I have to say, I'm a little disappointed.
I mean, how do we get flat-Earthers, moon-landing-is-fakers, bigfoot hunters, and all sorts of other groups I could offend by including them here, AND WE DON'T HAVE ANY WATSON TRUTHERS!?!?
Yeah, sure it would be nutty, but nutty is running amok these days. At least we should have some nuts we can invite to our Sherlockian events! (Yes, yes, we do have a few mixed nuts at our Sherlockian events, but let's not talk about . . . well, that guy.) And a true Watson truther is going to be working hard at gathering evidence that Doyle was the literary agent, Watson was the writer, and that SHERLOCK HOLMES IS REAL! (Sorry, had to plug the silly podcast, also on iTunes. But back to the topic, because -- big secret -- that sham podcast doesn't have real Watson truthers on it.) Actual conspiracy theorists can work very hard at maintaining whatever fiction they've decided is the truth.
So why no Watson truthers out there?
I suspect it is because believing that John H. Watson really wrote the Sherlock Holmes stories doesn't play to any general disbelief in accepted authorities as strongly as flat Earth or multiple-Kennedy-shooters, etc. The government would have no obvious reason for covering up Watsonian authorship the way it would moon landings and the like. (Though there are those theories that the British government covered up the truth about Jack the Ripper . . . can we roll Watson into that established belief system? Maybe in England. Hard to get all anti-Parliament and all here in the colonies, when we have our own political villains.) NASA, the CIA, the CDC, etc., really don't care about our favorite Victorian doctor and his friend enough that we can even suspect them of malfeasance, and we sure don't have any problems with Mycroft to rail against.
We love Mycroft. Even if he did cover up Watsonian authorship, well . . . he's Mycroft.
But I guess it's like everything else. Hundreds of movies this year and no Sherlock Holmes movies (no, Gnomes doesn't count). Hundreds of English-language TV shows this year, and none of them are about Sherlock Holmes (this may seem like I'm missing something to some, but you know). All those crazies out there and none of them are into Watson-truther crazy!
Ah, well. Sounding a bit like an over-privileged Boomer here who listened to too much Andy Rooney in younger days, so I'm going to wander off and try to find something a little more substantial to get worked up about before the next post.